“Zvartnots” International Airport.
Breakfast at the hotel. Yerevan sightseeing, including City Centre, Republic Square, City panorama, Cascade- an open-air museum, with The Cafesjian Center of the Contemporary Arts, Parliament, President’s Palace, the Opera House. Visit to Matenadaran, a repository of ancient manuscripts, research institute and museum which is in possession of a collection of nearly 17,000 manuscripts and 30,000 other documents which cover a wide array of subjects such as historiography, geography, cosmography, philosophy, grammar, art history, medicine and science. Drive to St. Echmiadzin – the administrative center of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Lunch in a cultural center of handmade carpets, traditional Armenian costumes and paintings, meeting with artists. Visit to the Cathedral of St. Echmiadzin and Zvartnots temple, a ruined seventh century circular Armenian cathedral (641-653) – another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ride back to Yerevan. Overnight.
Breakfast at the hotel. Trip to Musaler, where you will participate in “Harissa Festival”. Musaler became famous, when six Armenian villages on the Mediterranean coast in Ottoman Turkey, have decided to put resistance during the Armenian Genocide in 1915. For almost 53 days Armenians fought for their lives against the Turkish soldiers and survived. Eventually, they were rescued by the French sailors who spotted the banner, which Armenians tied up on the tree saying “Christians in Distress: Rescue!”. The villagers were offered “harissa” to eat by the French sailors who rescued them. There is a village in modern Armenia called similarly “Musaler”, where the memorial to that event is erected. So you will see why the festival centers around the cooking of harissa. The 40 huge pots of harissa are being cooked every year on the anniversary of that event, to celebrate the act of utter bravery by those Armenian villagers. The harissa consists of chicken or lamb, mixed with wheat or other grains into a thick porridge. At the preparation of harissa the Musalerians gather around the bonfire and sing traditional and patriotic songs all night long.
Breakfast at the hotel. Tour to Ashtarak to see our marvelous church Mughni. Crossing the main highway bridge, the first exit right leads to the village of Mughni, inside the Ashtarak city limits, with the 14th c. Monastery of S. Gevorg. The church, with its distinctive striped drum below the conical cupola, was rebuilt in 1661-69 by the order of Vardapet Yovhannes. In 1999 it went major restoration. Ride back to Yerevan. Overnight.